Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Overview
Bangladesh officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangla
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

: গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ ) is a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 located in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It is bordered by India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

, also it is the hub of all cultural, political and religious affairs. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

.
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Timeline

1952   In Dhaka, East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) police open fire on a procession of students that was demanding the establishment of Bengali as the official language, killing four people and starting a country-wide protest which led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day is later declared as "International Mother Language Day" by UNESCO.

1966   Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, announces the ''Six Points'' in Karachi as the election manifesto of Awami League, that later led to formation of Bangladesh.

1970   Bhola cyclone: A 150-mph tropical cyclone hits the densely populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night. This is regarded as the 20th century's worst natural disaster.

1971   The People's Republic of Bangladesh forms, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Mujibnagor.

1971   Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India following New Delhi's recognition of Bangladesh.

1972   Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returns to the newly independent Bangladesh as president after spending over nine months in prison in Pakistan.

1972   East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.

1972   India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty.

1973   National Assembly of Pakistan passes a resolution on the recognition of Bangladesh.

1974   Organisation of the Islamic Conferencesummit begins in Lahore, Pakistan. Thirty-seven countries attend and twenty-two heads of state and government participate. It also recognizes Bangladesh.

 
Encyclopedia
Bangladesh officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangla
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

: গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ ) is a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 located in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It is bordered by India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

, also it is the hub of all cultural, political and religious affairs. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

.
The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition of Bengal and India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, when the region became East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

, part of the newly formed nation of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. However, it was separated from the western wing
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 by 1600 km (994 mi) of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically-dominant West Pakistan, popular agitation grew against West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 and led to the Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 in 1971, which succeeded after Pakistan surrendered to an invasion by an Indian Brigade in Dhaka . After independence, the new state endured famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups
Military coups in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has faced several military coups since its independence from Pakistan in 1971.-15 August:The coup of 15 August 1975 was organized by officers of Bangladesh Army. They were led by Major Syed Faruqe Rahman and Major Rashid...

. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy, with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad
Jatiyo Sangshad
Jatiya Sangsad or National Assembly is the national parliament of Bangladesh. The current parliament of Bangladesh contains 345 seats including 45 women reserved seats distributed on elected party position in the parliament, the occupants of which are called Members of Parliament or MPs...

. It is the ninth most populous country and among the most densely populated countries in the world. A high poverty rate prevails, although the United Nations has acclaimed Bangladesh for achieving tremendous progress in human development
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

. Geographically, the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta
Ganges Delta
The Ganges Delta is a river delta in the South Asia region of Bengal, consisting of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India. It is the world's largest delta, and empties into the Bay of Bengal...

 and is subject to annual monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 floods and cyclone
Cyclone
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

s.

The country is listed among the Next Eleven economies
Next Eleven
The Next Eleven are eleven countries—Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam — identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank and Jim O'Neill as having a high potential of becoming, along with the BRICS, the world's largest...

. It is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is an organisation of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985 by Ziaur Rahman and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh,...

, the D-8
Developing 8 Countries
The Developing 8 are a group of developing countries with large Muslim populations that have formed an economic development alliance. It consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.-History:The D-8 was founded by Necmettin Erbakan, former Turkish Prime...

 and BIMSTEC
BIMSTEC
Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia...

, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. However, Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, economic competition relative to the world, serious overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

, widespread poverty, and an increasing danger of hydrologic shocks brought on by ecological vulnerability to climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

.

History



Remnants of civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

 in the greater Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 region date back four thousand years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman
Tibeto-Burman languages
The Tibeto-Burman languages are the non-Chinese members of the Sino-Tibetan language family, over 400 of which are spoken thoughout the highlands of southeast Asia, as well as lowland areas in Burma ....

, and Austro-Asiatic
Austro-Asiatic languages
The Austro-Asiatic languages, in recent classifications synonymous with Mon–Khmer, are a large language family of Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. The name Austro-Asiatic comes from the Latin words for "south" and "Asia", hence "South Asia"...

 peoples. The exact origin of the word "Bangla" or "Bengal" is not known, though it is believed to be derived from Bang, the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE.

The kingdom of Gangaridai
Gangaridai
Gangaridai was an ancient state found around 300 BC where the Bengal region lies today . It was described by the Greek traveller Megasthenes in his work Indica...

 was formed from at least the 7th century BCE, which later united with Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

 and Sunga
Sunga Empire
The Sunga Empire or Shunga Empire was a royal Indian dynasty from Magadha that controlled vast areas of the Indian Subcontinent from around 185 to 73 BCE. The dynasty was established by Pusyamitra Sunga, after the fall of the Maurya Empire...

 Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 and Harsha Empire
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 from the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bengali named Shashanka
Shashanka
Shashanka is often attributed with creating the first separate political entity in a unified Bengal called Gauda and as such is a major figure in Bengali history. He reigned in 7th century AD, and some historians place his rule approximately between 590 AD and 625 AD. He is the contemporary of...

 founded an impressive short-lived kingdom. After a period of anarchy
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

, the Bengali Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 Pala dynasty
Pala Empire
The Pāla Empire was one of the major middle kingdoms of India existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala , which means protector. The Palas were often described...

 ruled the region for four hundred years, followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Sena dynasty
Sena dynasty
The Sena Empire was a Hindu dynasty that ruled from Bengal through the 11th and 12th centuries. At its peak the empire covered much of the north-eastern region in the Indian Subcontinent. They were called Brahma-Kshatriyas, as evidenced through their surname, which is derived from the Sanskrit,...

.

Medieval European geographers located paradise at the mouth of the Ganges and although this was overhopeful, Bengal was probably the wealthiest part of the subcontinent until the 16th century. The area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, and a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance.

Islam was introduced to the Bengal region in the 12th century by Arab Muslim merchants; Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 missionaries, and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkish general, defeated Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen was the fourth king of the Sen dynasty of Bengal, who ruled for about 28 years. Lakshman Sen succeeded his father Ballal Sen...

 of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal in the year 1204. The region was ruled by several sultans
Sultanate of Bengal
The Sultanate of Bengal was a state that existed from the 14th through the 16th centuries. It was eventually absorbed into the Mughal fold. The Sultanate was ruled by a series of dynasties with both local and foreign origins.-Origins:...

, Hindu states and land-lords
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

-Baro-Bhuiyans for the next few hundred years. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of Mughal administration.
Maratha empire, a Hindu empire which overran Mughals in 18th century also devastated the Nawab of Bengal from 1742–1751 in a series of raids on Bengal and Bihar which were under Nawab of Bengal, Maratha demolished much of Bengal economy and was not able to withstand the continuous onslaught of Maratha for too long. Nawab Ali Vardi Khan made peace with Maratha thus giving whole of Orissa and parts of Western Bengal to Maratha apart from this a Chauth (1/4th of total revenue) was imposed on other Parts of Bengal and Bihar the amount was 20 lakh
Lakh
A lakh is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand . It is widely used both in official and other contexts in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and is often used in Indian English.-Usage:...

s for Bengal and 12 lakhs for Bihar per year. After Maratha defeat in Panipat by a coalition of Muslim forces, Maratha returned again under Maratha general Madhoji Sindhia and raided Bengal again. British Empire has stopped the payment of Chauth, to collect this amount they invaded the territory of Bengal in 1760s. This raid continued until Maratha was defeated completely by British Empire in the series of Anglo-Maratha Wars.

From 1517 onwards, Portuguese traders from Goa were traversing the sea-route to Bengal. Only in 1537, were they allowed to settle and open customs houses at Chittagong. In 1577, Mughal emperor Akbar permitted the Portuguese to build permanent settlements and churches in Bengal. The influence of European traders grew until the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey , 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years...

 in 1757. The bloody rebellion of 1857—known as the Sepoy Mutiny
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

—resulted in transfer of authority to the crown
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 with a British viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 running the administration. During colonial rule, famine racked the Indian subcontinent many times, including the war-induced Great Bengal famine
Bengal famine of 1943
The Bengal famine of 1943 struck the Bengal. Province of pre-partition India. Estimates are that between 1.5 and 4 million people died of starvation, malnutrition and disease, out of Bengal’s 60.3 million population, half of them dying from disease after food became available in December 1943 As...

 of 1943 that claimed 3 million lives.

Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt
Partition of Bengal (1905)
The decision of the Partition of Bengal was announced on 19 July 1905 by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took effect on 16 October 1905...

 was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka being the capital of the eastern zone. When India was partitioned
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, Bengal was partitioned
Partition of Bengal (1947)
The Partition of Bengal in 1947, part of the Partition of India, was a religiously based partition that divided the British Indian province of Bengal between India and Pakistan...

 along religious lines, with the western part going to India and the eastern part (Muslim majority) joining Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 as a province called East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

 (later renamed East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

), with its capital at Dhaka.

In 1950, land reform was accomplished in East Bengal with the abolishment of the feudal zamindar
Zamindar
A Zamindar or zemindar , was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and ruled over and taxed the bhikaaris who lived on batavaslam. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja , Raja , Nawab , and Mirza , Chowdhury , among others...

i system. Despite the economic and demographic weight of the east, however, Pakistan's government and military were largely dominated by the upper classes from the west. The Bengali Language Movement of 1952 was the first sign of friction between the two wings of Pakistan.
After staging compromise talks with Mujib, President Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 and military officials arrested him in the early hours of 26 March 1971, and launched Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

, a sustained military assault on East Pakistan. Yahya's methods were extremely bloody, and the violence of the war resulted in many civilian deaths. Chief targets included intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

s and Hindus, and about ten million refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s fled to neighbouring India. Estimates of those massacred throughout the war
1971 Bangladesh atrocities
Beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971 and continuing throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War, there were widespread violations of human rights in East Pakistan perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, with support from local political and religious militias, especially...

 range from three hundred thousand to 3 million.

Awami League leaders set up a government-in-exile in Calcutta
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, India. The exile government formally took oath at Mujib Nagar in Kustia district of East Pakistan on 17 April 1971, with Tajuddin Ahmad as the first Prime Minister and Syed Nazrul Islam as the Vice President.

After Mujib declared independence of Bangladesh, Yahia’s brutal crackdown, including a virtual massacre of the intelligentsia in the universities of Bangladesh, was comparable in method to the war crimes of the Nazis. International public opinion was revolted and a tidal wave of hapless refugees, their number soon reaching 10 million, sought shelter in India.

The Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 lasted for nine months. The Bangladesh Forces formed within 11 sectors led by General M.A.G. Osmani consisting of Bengali Regulars, and Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 conducted a massive guerilla war against the Pakistan Forces with all out support from the Indian Armed Forces
Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. They consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force, supported by three paramilitary forces and various inter-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command.The President of India is...

. Jointly, the Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 achieved a decisive victory over Pakistan on 16 December 1971, with Indian Armed Forces taking over 90,000 prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

.
After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy, with Mujib as the Prime Minister. In the 1973 parliamentary elections, the Awami League gained an absolute majority. A nationwide famine occurred during 1973 and 1974, and in early 1975, Mujib initiated a one-party socialist rule with his newly formed BAKSAL
BAKSAL
The Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League was a political amalgmation of the Awami League with the Krishak Sramik Party that supported President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in governing Bangladesh...

. On 15 August 1975, Mujib and most of his family members were assassinated by mid-level military officers. A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months culminated in the ascent to power of General Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

, who reinstated multi-party politics, and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Bangladesh Nationalist Party
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party , commonly referred to as the BNP, is the mainstream center-right political party in Bangladesh. BNP ruled Bangladesh total 18 years since her independence, the longest than any other party in Bangladesh...

 (BNP). Zia's rule ended when he was assassinated by elements of the military in 1981.

Bangladesh's next major ruler was General Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad is a Bangladeshi politician who was President of Bangladesh from 1983 to 1990. Previously, he was Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Army and then Chief Martial Law Administrator in 1982....

, who gained power in a bloodless coup in 1982, and ruled until 1990, when he was forced to resign after a massive revolt of all major political parties and the public, along with pressure from western donors (which was a major shift in international policy after the fall of the Soviet Union). Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy. Zia's widow, Khaleda Zia
Khaleda Zia
Begum Khaleda Zia is the former First Lady of Bangladesh , and then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, having served from 1991 to 1996, becoming the first woman in the country's history and second in the Muslim world to head a democratic government as prime minister. She served again from 2001 until...

, led the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to parliamentary victory at the general election in 1991, and became the first female Prime Minister in Bangladeshi history. However, the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and widow of a reputed nuclear...

, one of Mujib's surviving daughters, won the next election in 1996. It lost again to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 2001.

On 11 January 2007, following widespread political unrest, a caretaker government was appointed to administer the next general election. The country had suffered from extensive corruption, disorder and political violence. The new caretaker government has made it a priority to root out corruption from all levels of government. To this end, many notable politicians and officials, along with large numbers of lesser officials and party members, have been arrested on corruption charges. The caretaker government held what observers described as a largely free and fair election on 29 December 2008. Awami League's Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and widow of a reputed nuclear...

 won the elections with a landslide victory and took the oath of Prime Minister on 6 January 2009.

Government and politics


National symbols of Bangladesh
Anthem Amar Shonar Bangla
Amar Shonar Bangla
Amar Shonar Bangla is a 1905 song written and composed by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore , the first ten lines of which were adopted in 1972 as the Bangladeshi national anthem...

Animal Royal Bengal Tiger
Bird Oriental Magpie Robin
Oriental Magpie Robin
The Oriental Magpie Robin is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but now considered an Old World flycatcher. They are distinctive black and white birds with a long tail that is held upright as they forage on the ground or perch conspicuously...

Fish Hilsa
Hilsa
Ilish , also spelled Elish, is the most popular fish to Bengalis. Its the national fish of Bangladesh and extremely popular in parts of India such as West Bengal, Orissa, Tripura, Assam as well. Ilish also can be found at India's Assamese-, Bengali- Oriya-speaking regions and in Telugu-speaking...

Flower White Water Lily
Fruit Jack fruit
Tree Mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 Tree
Sport Hadudu
Calendar Bengali calendar


Bangladesh is a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 and parliamentary democracy. Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 known as Jatiya Sangsad. The parliamentary building is known as the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban
Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban
Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Assembly of Bangladesh, is the Jatiyo Sangshad Building of Bangladesh, located in the capital Dhaka. It was created by architect Louis Kahn and is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world...

and was designed by architect Louis Kahn
Louis Kahn
Louis Isadore Kahn was an American architect, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935...

. Currently the parliament has 345 members including 45 reserved seats for women, elected from single-member constituencies. The Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

, as the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, forms the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 and runs the day-to-day affairs of state. While the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the President
President of Bangladesh
Since 1991, the President of Bangladesh is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post elected by the parliament. Since 1996, the President's role becomes more important after the term of the government has finished, when his executive authority is enhanced as laid down in the constitution of the...

, he or she must be an MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 who commands the confidence of the majority of parliament. The President is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 but mainly a ceremonial post elected by the parliament.

However the President's powers are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government
Caretaker government
Caretaker government is a type of government that rules temporarily. A caretaker government is often set up following a war until stable democratic rule can be restored, or installed, in which case it is often referred to as a provisional government...

, which is responsible for the conduct of elections and transfer of power. The officers of the caretaker government must be non-partisan and are given three months to complete their task. This transitional arrangement is an innovation that was pioneered by Bangladesh in its 1991 election and then institutionalized in 1996 through its 13th constitutional amendment.

The Constitution of Bangladesh
Constitution of Bangladesh
The Constitution of Bangladesh is the supreme law of Bangladesh. It declares Bangladesh as a secular democratic republic where sovereignty belongs to the people; and lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles of the state and spells out the fundamental rights of citizens...

 was drafted in 1972 and has undergone 14 amendments
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh is the highest court of law in Bangladesh. It is composed of the High Court Division and the Appellate division, and was created by Part VI Chapter I of the Constitution of Bangladesh adopted in 1972. This is also the office of the Chief Justice, Appellate Division...

. Justices are appointed by the President. The judicial and law enforcement institutions are weak. Separation of powers, judicial from executive was finally implemented on 1 November 2007. It is expected that this separation will make the judiciary stronger and impartial. Laws are loosely based on English common law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

, but family laws such as marriage and inheritance are based on religious scripts, and therefore differ between religious communities.

Major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Awami League
Bangladesh Awami League
The Bangladesh Awami League , commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh...

 and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Bangladesh Nationalist Party
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party , commonly referred to as the BNP, is the mainstream center-right political party in Bangladesh. BNP ruled Bangladesh total 18 years since her independence, the longest than any other party in Bangladesh...

 (BNP). BNP is led by Khaleda Zia
Khaleda Zia
Begum Khaleda Zia is the former First Lady of Bangladesh , and then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, having served from 1991 to 1996, becoming the first woman in the country's history and second in the Muslim world to head a democratic government as prime minister. She served again from 2001 until...

 and has politically been allied with Islamist parties like Jamaat Bangladesh but practise secular politics. Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and widow of a reputed nuclear...

's Awami League aligns with more leftist
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 parties. Hasina and Zia are bitter rivals who have dominated politics for over 15 years; each is related to one of the leaders of the independence movement. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military dictator Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and student leaders have been elected to the Parliament.

Two radical terrorist organizations, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh
Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh
Jāgrātā Muslim Jānātā Bānglādesh , also known by the acronym JMJB, is an Islamist organisation based in Bangladesh, especially around the country's north-western region. The Government of Bangladesh has classified JMJB as a terrorist organisation...

 (JMJB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were banned in February 2005. Several small-scale bomb attacks taking place since 1999 have been blamed on those groups, and dozens of suspected members have been detained in security operations, including the heads of those two parties in 2006. The masterminds were tried and executed. The Bangladesh government won praise from world leaders, including Western leaders, for its strong anti-terrorist stance.

The January 22, 2007 election was postponed indefinitely and emergency law declared on January 11, 2007 as the Army backed caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed
Fakhruddin Ahmed
Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed is a noted Bangladeshi economist, civil servant, and a former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, the country's central bank...

 aimed to prepare a new voter list and crack down on corruption. They also assisted the interim Government of Bangladesh in a drive against corruption, which resulted in Bangladesh's position in Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

's Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 changed from the very bottom, where they had been for 3 years in a row, to 147th in just 1 year. A large alliance led by the Bangladesh Awami League won the December 29, 2008 poll, in a landslide victory. They got 230 seats among 300 seats in the parliament.

Foreign relations and military


Bangladesh pursues a moderate foreign policy that places heavy reliance on multinational diplomacy, especially at the United Nations. In 1974 Bangladesh joined both the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and has since been elected to serve two terms on the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 in 1978–1979 and 2000–2001. In the 1980s, Bangladesh played a lead role in founding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is an organisation of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985 by Ziaur Rahman and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh,...

 (SAARC) in order to expand relations with other South Asian states. Since the founding of SAARC 1985, a Bangladeshi has held the post of Secretary General on two occasions.

Bangladesh's most important and complex foreign relationship is with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. This relationship is informed by historical and cultural ties and is strengthened because of India's involvement of liberating the people of Bangladesh from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. This forms an important part of the domestic political discourse. Bangladesh's relationship with India
India-Bangladesh relations
Bangladesh and India are part of the Indian Subcontinent and have had a long common cultural, economic and political history. The cultures of the two countries are similar; in particular Bangladesh and India's states West Bengal and Tripura are all Bengali-speaking...

 began on a positive note because of India's assistance in the independence war
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 and reconstruction. Throughout the years, relations between both countries have fluctuated for a number of reasons.

A major source of tension between Bangladesh and India is the Farakka Dam
Farakka Barrage
Farakka Barrage is a barrage across the Ganges River, located in the Indian state of West Bengal, roughly from the border with Bangladesh near Chapai Nawabganj District. Construction was started in 1961 and completed in 1975. Operations began on April 21, 1975. The barrage is about long...

. In 1975, India constructed a dam on the Ganges River
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

 11 miles (17.7 km) from the Bangladeshi border. Bangladesh alleges that the dam diverts much needed water from Bangladesh and adds a man-made disaster to the country already plagued by natural disasters. The dam also has terrible ecological consequences. On the other hand, India has voiced concerns about anti-Indian separatists and Islamic militants allegedly being harboured across their 2500 miles (4,023.4 km) border, as well as the flow of illegal migrants, and is building a fence along most of it. However, at the 2007 SAARC meeting both nations pledged to work cooperatively on security, economic and border issues.

The current strength of the army is around 200,000 including reservists, the air force 22,000, and navy 19,000. In addition to traditional defence roles, the military has been called on to provide support to civil authorities for disaster relief and internal security during periods of political unrest. Bangladesh is not currently active in any ongoing war, but it did contribute 2,300 troops to the coalition that fought in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Bangladesh is consistently a top (10,736) contributor to UN peacekeeping forces around the world. As of May 2007, Bangladesh had major deployments in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Timor-Leste and Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

.

Bangladesh enjoys relatively warm ties with the People's Republic of China which has, particularly in the past decade, increased economic cooperation with the South Asian nation. Between 2006 and 2007, trade between the two nations rose by 28.5% and there have been agreements to grant various Bangladeshi commodities tariff-free access to the Chinese market. Cooperation between the Military of Bangladesh
Military of Bangladesh
The Bangladesh Armed Forces consists of the three uniformed military services of Bangladesh: the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Navy and the Bangladesh Air Force. The para-military Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Coast Guard are under the jurisdiction of the during peacetime, but during...

 and the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 is also increasing, with joint military agreements signed and Bangladesh procuring Chinese arms which range from small arms to large naval surface combatants such as the Chinese Type 053H1
Jianghu class frigate
The Type 053 frigates were a family of Chinese ships that served with the People's Liberation Army Navy , and a small number of foreign navies. The Type 053 was developed from the Soviet Riga-class frigates after the Sino–Soviet split....

 Missile Frigate.

Divisions, districts and upazilas


Bangladesh is divided into seven administrative divisions, each named after their respective divisional headquarters: Barisal
Barisal Division
Barisal Division is located in south-central Bangladesh, with an area of 13,644.85 km2, and with a population of 8,147,000 at the 2011 Census . It is bounded by Dhaka division on the north, the Bay of Bengal on the south, Chittagong division on the east and Khulna division on the west...

 (বরিশাল), Chittagong (চট্টগ্রাম), Dhaka (ঢাকা), Khulna (খুলনা), Rajshahi (রাজশাহী), Sylhet
Sylhet Division
Sylhet Division , also known as Greater Sylhet or Sylhet region, is the northeastern division of Bangladesh, named after its main city, Sylhet...

 (সিলেট), and Rangpur (রংপুর).

Divisions are subdivided into districts (zila). There are 64 districts in Bangladesh, each further subdivided into upazila (subdistricts) or thana. The area within each police station, except for those in metropolitan areas, is divided into several unions, with each union consisting of multiple villages. In the metropolitan areas, police stations are divided into wards, which are further divided into mahallas. There are no elected officials at the divisional, district or upazila levels, and the administration is composed only of government officials. Direct elections are held for each union (or ward), electing a chairperson and a number of members. In 1997, a parliamentary act was passed to reserve three seats (out of 12) in every union for female candidates.

Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Other major cities include Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

, Khulna
Khulna
Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It is located on the banks of the Rupsha and Bhairab rivers in Khulna District. It is the divisional headquarters of Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. It has a seaport named Mongla on its outskirts, 38 km from Khulna...

, Rajshahi
Rajshahi
The city of Rajshahi is the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the six metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. Often referred to as Silk City and Education City, Rajshahi is located in the north-west of the country and...

, Sylhet
Sylhet
Sylhet , is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the main city of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District, and was granted metropolitan city status in March 2009. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma Valley and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills...

, Barisal, Bogra
Bogra
Bogra is a town, and one of the oldest towns in northern Bangladesh. It is a centre of commerce and trade within the Bogra District and located under the Rajshahi Division. Bogra is sometimes described as the nerve centre of Northern Bangladesh. Amongst many notable activities, it has been hosting...

, Comilla
Comilla
Comilla is a city in south-eastern Bangladesh, located along the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. It is the administrative center of the Comilla District, part of the Chittagong Division. The Eastern Wing of Bangladesh Highway Police is located in Comilla....

, Mymensingh
Mymensingh
Mymensingh , pronounced moy-mon-shing-haw, is a city of Bangladesh situated on the river Brahmaputra. It is the headquarters of the administrative unit Mymensingh District. Mymensingh is the anglicized pronunciation of the original name Momenshahi, referring to a ruler called Momen Shah. The cadet...

 and Rangpur
Rangpur, Bangladesh
Rangpur is one of the major cities in Bangladesh. Rangpur is considered as the centre of northwestern Bangladesh. Recently established public university of Bangladesh named as "Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur" is situated in the southern part of the city. Earlier Rangpur was the headquarter of...

. These cities have mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

al elections, while other municipalities elect a chairperson. Mayors and chairpersons are elected for a span of five years.
City City population (2008 estimate) Metro population (2008 estimate)
Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

7,000,940 12,797,394
Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

2,579,107 3,858,093
Khulna
Khulna
Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It is located on the banks of the Rupsha and Bhairab rivers in Khulna District. It is the divisional headquarters of Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. It has a seaport named Mongla on its outskirts, 38 km from Khulna...

855,650 1,588,425
Rajshahi
Rajshahi
The city of Rajshahi is the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the six metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. Often referred to as Silk City and Education City, Rajshahi is located in the north-west of the country and...

472,775 775,496
Sylhet
Sylhet
Sylhet , is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the main city of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District, and was granted metropolitan city status in March 2009. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma Valley and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills...

463,198
Barisal 210,374
Rangpur 251,699

Geography and climate



Bangladesh lies between latitudes 20°
20th parallel north
The 20th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 20 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 27°N
27th parallel north
The 27th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 27 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 88°
88th meridian east
The meridian 88° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 93°E
93rd meridian east
The meridian 93° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Bangladesh is in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

 (local name Padma
Padma River
The Padma is a major trans-boundary river in Bangladesh. It is the main distributary of the Ganges , which originates in the Himalayas. The Padma enters Bangladesh from India near Chapai Nababganj...

 or Pôdda), Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra , also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. It is the only Indian river that is attributed the masculine gender and thus referred to as a in Indo-Aryan languages and languages with Indo-Aryan influence...


(Jamuna or Jomuna also known as "Yamuna"), and Meghna
Meghna River
The Meghna River is an important river in Bangladesh, one of the three that forms the Ganges Delta, the largest on earth fanning out to the Bay of Bengal. Being a part of the Surma-Meghna River System, Meghna is formed inside Bangladesh by the joining of different rivers originaing from the hilly...

 rivers and their respective tributaries. The Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial soil
Alluvium
Alluvium is loose, unconsolidated soil or sediments, eroded, deposited, and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting. Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel...

 deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world. Bangladesh has 57 trans-boundary river
Trans-boundary river
A trans-boundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. The country of Bangladesh has the greatest number of these rivers, almost all of which cross national boundaries....

s, making water issues politically complicated to resolve – in most cases as the lower riparian
Riparian zone
A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes of the earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by...

 state to India.

Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 m (39.4 ft) above the sea level, and it is believed that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 m (3.28 ft).

In south east Bangladesh experiments have been done since the sixties to 'build with nature'. By implementing cross dams, the natural accretion of silt has created new land. With Dutch funding, the Bangladeshi government began to help develop this new land in the late 1970s. The effort has since become a multiagency operation building roads, culverts, embankments, cyclone shelters, toilets and ponds, as well as distributing land to settlers. By fall 2010, the program will have allotted some 27000 acre (10,927 ha) to 21,000 families.

The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1052 m (3,451.4 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

 to the southeast of the country. Cox's Bazar
Cox's Bazar
Cox's Bazar is a town, a fishing port and district headquarters in Bangladesh. It is known for its wide sandy beach which is the world's longest natural sandy sea beach. It is an unbroken 125 km sandy sea beach with a gentle slope. It is located 150 km south of Chittagong. Cox’s Bazar...

, south of the city of Chittagong, has a beach that stretches uninterrupted over 120 kilometres (75 mi).

Straddling the Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

, Bangladeshi climate is tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most of the country's rainfall. Natural calamities, such as floods
Floods in Bangladesh
The South Asian country of Bangladesh is prone to the natural disaster of flooding due to being situated on the Ganges Delta and the many tributaries flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The coastal flooding twinned with the bursting of Bangladesh's river banks is common and severely affects the...

, tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

s, tornado
Tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

es, and tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

s occur almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, soil degradation
Soils retrogression and degradation
Soil retrogression and degradation are two regressive evolution processes associated with the loss of equilibrium of a stable soil. Retrogression is primarily due to erosion and corresponds to a phenomenon where succession reverts back to pioneer conditions . Degradation is an evolution,...

 and erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

. The cyclones of 1970 and 1991 were particularly devastating. A cyclone that struck Bangladesh in 1991
1991 Bangladesh cyclone
-External links:** from NIRAPAD disaster response organisation.**...

 killed some 140,000 people.

In September 1998, Bangladesh saw the most severe flooding
1998 Bangladesh floods
The 1998 Bangladesh floods was one of the most destructive flooding events in modern world history, where about two-third of the Bangladesh was covered by the waters of the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and the Meghna.- Causes :...

 in modern world history. As the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and Meghna spilt over and swallowed 300,000 houses, 9700 kilometres (6,027 mi) of road and 2700 kilometres (1,678 mi) of embankment 1,000 people were killed and 30 million more were made homeless with 135,000 cattle killed, 50 square kilometre of land destroyed and 11000 kilometres (6,835 mi) of roads damaged or destroyed. Two-thirds of the country was underwater.
There were several reasons for the severity of the flooding. Firstly, there were unusually high monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 rains. Secondly, the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 shed off an equally unusually high amount of melt water that year. Thirdly, trees that usually would have intercepted rain water had been cut down for firewood or to make space for animals.

Bangladesh is now widely recognized to be one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

. Natural hazards that come from increased rainfall, rising sea levels, and tropical cyclones are expected to increase as climate changes, each seriously affecting agriculture, water & food security, human health and shelter. It is believed that in the coming decades the rising sea level alone will create more than 20 million climate refugee
Climate refugee
Environmental migrant refers to the people who are purportedly forced to migrate from or flee their home region due to sudden or long-term changes to their local environment, which is held to include increased droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and disruption of seasonal weather patterns...

s. Bangladeshi water is contaminated with arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 frequently because of the high arsenic contents in the soil. Up to 77 million people are exposed to toxic arsenic
Arsenic contamination of groundwater
Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a natural occurring high concentration of arsenic in deeper levels of groundwater, which became a high-profile problem in recent years due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply in the Ganges Delta, causing serious arsenic poisoning to large numbers of...

 from drinking water. Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornado
Tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

s and cyclone
Cyclone
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

s. Also, there is evidence that earthquake pose a threat to inducing Bangladesh disasters through movement of rivers. Evidence shows that tectonics have caused rivers to shift course suddenly and dramtically. It has been shown that rainy-season flooding in Bangladesh, on the world’s largest river delta, can push the underlying crust down by as much as 6 centimeters, and possibly perturb faults.http://www.earth.columbia.edu/videos/watch/337

Flora and fauna


A major part of the coastline comprises a marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

y jungle
Jungle
A Jungle is an area of land in the tropics overgrown with dense vegetation.The word jungle originates from the Sanskrit word jangala which referred to uncultivated land. Although the Sanskrit word refers to "dry land", it has been suggested that an Anglo-Indian interpretation led to its...

, the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
The Sundarbans [Sundarban Tour Booking-9051115228] is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language...

, the largest mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.
The Magpie Robin is the National Bird of Bangladesh and it is common and known as the Doyel or Doel . It is a widely used symbol in Bangladesh, appearing on currency notes and a landmark in the city of Dhaka is named as the Doyel Chatwar (meaning: Doyel Square). The national flower of the country is water lily
Water lily
The phrase "water lily" is used to describe aquatic plants of the following families, which have lily pads:* Nymphaeaceae* Nelumbonaceae , also called "lotus"Water lily may also refer to:...

, which is known as Shapla. The national fruit is jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), which in Bengali is known as Kathal. In late 2010, the Bangladeshi government selected the Mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 tree as the national tree.

Economy


At April 2010, USA – based ratings agency Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's is a United States-based financial services company. It is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds. It is well known for its stock-market indices, the US-based S&P 500, the Australian S&P/ASX 200, the Canadian...

 (S&P) awarded Bangladesh a BB- for a long term in credit rating
Credit rating
A credit rating evaluates the credit worthiness of an issuer of specific types of debt, specifically, debt issued by a business enterprise such as a corporation or a government. It is an evaluation made by a credit rating agency of the debt issuers likelihood of default. Credit ratings are...

 which is below India and well over Pakistan and Sri Lanka in South Asia. And, despite continuous domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a developing nation. However, Bangladesh gradually decreased its dependency on foreign grant and loan from 85% (In 1988) to 2% (In 2010) for its annual development budget. Its per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 in 2010 was US$641 compared to the world average of $8,985. But, if purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 (PPP) is taken into account, Bangladesh's economy is the 44th largest in the world at US$257 billion according to the IMF.

Jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 was once the economic engine of the country. Its share of the world export market peaked in the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the late 1940s at 80% and even in the early 1970s accounted for 70% of its export earnings. However, polypropylene
Polypropylene
Polypropylene , also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, textiles , stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes...

 products began to substitute for jute products worldwide and the jute industry started to decline. Bangladesh grows very significant quantities of rice, tea, potato, mango, onion and mustard
Mustard plant
Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small mustard seeds are used as a spice and, by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids, are turned into the condiment known as mustard or prepared mustard...

. According to FAOSTAT, Bangladesh is one of world's largest producers of: Rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 (4th), Potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

 (11th), Mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 (9th), Pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

 (16th), Tropical Fruit (5th), Onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

 (16th), Banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

 (17th), Jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 (2nd), Tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 (11th).

Although two-thirds of Bangladeshis are farmers, more than three quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry, which began attracting foreign investors in the 1980s due to cheap labour and low conversion cost. In 2009–10 fiscal year the industry exported US$ 12.6 billion worth of products where in 2002 the exported amount was US$ 5 billion. Recently Bangladesh has been ranked as the 4th largest clothing exporter by the WTO (The World Trade Organization)
. whereas, according to The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

 Bangladesh is world’s third-largest clothes-export industry The industry now employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women. A large part of foreign currency earnings also comes from the remittances sent by expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s living in other countries.

Obstacles to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, mismanaged port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 facilities, a growth in the labour force that has outpaced jobs, inefficient use of energy resources (such as natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

), insufficient power supplies, slow implementation of economic reforms, political infighting and corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

. According to the World Bank, "among Bangladesh’s most significant obstacles to growth are poor governance and weak public institutions." Despite these hurdles, the country has achieved an average annual growth rate of 5% since 1990, according to the World Bank.

Bangladesh has seen expansion of its middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 (world's fifty-fourth largest, just below of Singapore & Vietnam), and its consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 industry has also grown. In December 2005, four years after its report on the emerging "BRIC
BRIC
In economics, BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development...

" economies (Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Russia, India, and China), Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

 named Bangladesh one of the "Next Eleven
Next Eleven
The Next Eleven are eleven countries—Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam — identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank and Jim O'Neill as having a high potential of becoming, along with the BRICS, the world's largest...

", along with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 and seven other countries.

Bangladesh has seen a dramatic increase in foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

. A number of multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

s and local big business houses such as Beximco
Beximco
The Beximco Group is the largest private sector conglomerate in Bangladesh. The group has interests in pharmaceuticals, textiles, ceramics, jute, aviation, media, finance, real estate, construction and energy. It is also the parent company of GMG Airlines and Independent Television ....

, Square
SQUARE (Bangladesh)
SQUARE is a Bangladeshi industrial conglomerate. The industries under this group include Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Toiletries, Consumer products...

, Akij Group, Ispahani
M. M. Ispahani Limited
M. M. Ispahani Limited is a Bangladeshi industrial conglomerate. This group employs approximately 10,000 people. This company has got Bangladesh Business Awards 2003 in the category enterprise of the year. According to The Daily Star, Ispahani group is one of the most respected business concerns in...

, Navana Group
Navana Group
Navana Group is a Bangladeshi industrial conglomerate.Navana Group under the leadership of Mr. Shafiul Islam Kamal as Chairman emerged into a separate physical entity from Islam Group after the death of its Chairman Mr. Jahurul Islam which was then the largest business group in Bangladesh...

, Transcom Group
Transcom Group
Transcom Group is a Bangladeshi business conglomerate. The businesses under this group include Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, Newspaper, Radio channel, Electronics, Foods etc. This group employs more than 8000 people.-History:...

, Habib Group
Habib Group
Habib Group is a Bangladeshi business conglomerate. The company was founded in 1947 with its head office in Chittagong., the port city of Bangladesh...

, KDS Group
KDS Group
KDS Group is a Bangladeshi industrial conglomerate. It is one of the largest and most diversified groups in Bangladesh. This group started its journey in 1983. Now it has over 19500 workforce in Bangladesh...

, T.K Group Of Industries, Dragon Group
Dragon Group
The Dragon Group is directly responsible for the establishment of the sweater industry in Bangladesh, which now contributes about US $1.5 billion per year from export....

 and multinationals such as Unocal Corporation
Unocal Corporation
Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal is a defunct company that was a major petroleum explorer and marketer in the late 19th century, through the 20th century, and into the early 21st century. It was headquartered in El Segundo, California, United States.On August 10, 2005, Unocal merged...

 and Chevron
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

, have made major investments, with the natural gas sector being a priority. In December 2005, the Central Bank of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Bank
Bangladesh Bank is the Central bank of Bangladesh and is a member of the Asian Clearing Union.-History:After the liberation war, and the eventual independence of Bangladesh, the Government of Bangladesh reorganized the Dhaka branch of the State Bank of Pakistan as the central bank of the country,...

 projected GDP growth around 6.5%. In order to enhance economic growth, the government set up several export processing zones to attract foreign investment. These are managed by the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority
Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority
The Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority is an agency of the Government of Bangladesh and is administered out of the Prime Minister's Office. Its objective is to manage the various export processing zones in Bangladesh. BEPZA currently oversees the operations of five export processing zones...

.

One significant contributor to the development of the economy has been the widespread propagation of microcredit
Microcredit
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit...

 by Muhammad Yunus (awarded the Nobel
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 peace prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 2006) through the Grameen Bank
Grameen Bank
The Grameen Bank is a microfinance organization and community development bank started in Bangladesh that makes small loans to the impoverished without requiring collateral...

. By the late 1990s, Grameen Bank had 2.3 million members, along with 2.5 million members of other similar organisations.

Next Mega-Projects


Bangladesh government is planning for construction of the largest deep sea port in South Asia at Sonadia Island. The 50,000 crore taka project will be completed in multiple phases and enable Bangladesh to service the whole region as a maritime transport and logistics hub. India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and other neighbouring countries will be able to take full advantage of the strategic location and Bangladesh’s LDC status for exporting their goods, which are manufactured in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, with $7.5 billion a new international airport will be constructed too, which will be South Asia’s largest airport. The airport is being modelled on Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

’s Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport , also known as Bangkok International Airport, is an international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September...

 in size and capacity.

To ease the chaotic traffic congestion
Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...

 in the capital Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 the government plans to construct more expressways, freeways, flyovers. There is a plan to build a overhead Rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 called Dhaka Metro
Dhaka Metro
The Dhaka Metro is a proposed metro rail system to be constructed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It has been long called for to solve the huge amount of traffic jams and congestion throughout the entire city on a daily basis. A feasibility study has been completed, but construction has not begun...

, but the progress is slow and controversial because of contracts and agreements.

Recently the government of Bangladesh signed a deal with a Chinese company to provide high-speed modern DEMU trains and is also going to construct metro rail system and high-speed electric powered inter city rail network. More airports, bridge
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

 (such as the multi-billion Padma bridge project) national highway
Highway
A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

s are also being constructed to facilitate trade and regional development.

Demographics



Population
Year Million
1971 71.0
1980 90.4
1990 115.6
2000 140.8
2004 150.7
2009 162.2
Source: OECD/World Bank

The population of Bangladesh at 15/03/2011 is 142.3 million (census 2011 results; this is a preliminary figure which has been disputed by the UN and now by Bangladeshis themselves), much less than recent (2007–2010) estimates of Bangladesh's population range from 158 to 170 million and it is the 8th most populous nation in the world. In 1951, the population was 44 million. It is also the most densely populated large country in the world, and it ranks 11th in population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

, when very small countries and city-states are included. A striking contrast is offered by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 which has a slightly smaller population spread over a land area that is 120 times larger than Bangladesh. Bangladesh's population growth was among the highest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s, when the country swelled from 65 to 110 million. With the promotion of birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

 in the 1980s, the growth rate had slowed. The population is relatively young, with 60% being 25 or younger and 3% being 63 or older. Life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 is 63 years for both males and females.

The overwhelming majority of Bangladeshis are ethnic Bengali
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

, comprising 98% of the population. The remainder are mostly Bihari
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

s and indigenous tribal groups. There is also a small but growing population of Rohingya
Rohingya people
The Rohingya is a predominantly Muslim ethnic group of disputed origin who live in Arakan State, western Burma. The Rohingya population is mostly concentrated to the cities of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Akyab, Rathedaung and Kyauktaw.-Etymology:...

 refugees from Burma around Cox's Bazaar, which Bangladesh seeks to repatriate to Burma. The indigenous tribal peoples are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

 in the southeast. There are 13 tribal groups located in this region, the largest being the Chakma
Chakma people
The Chakmas , also known as the Changhma , are a community that inhabits the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and the North-East India. The Chakmas are the largest ethnic group in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, making up more than half the tribal population. Chakmas are divided into 46 clans or...

. The Hill Tracts region has been a source of unrest and separatism since and before the inception of Bangladesh. Outside the Hill Tracts, the largest tribal groups are the Santhals and Garos (Achiks)
Garo (tribe)
See also Garo for other uses.The Garos are a tribal people in Meghalaya, India and neighboring areas of Bangladesh, who call themselves A·chik Mande or simply A·chik or Mande...

, while smaller groups include the Kaibartta
Kaibartta
Kaibarta — The Kaibartas are found to be one of the aboriginal ethnic groups that inhabited in Orrisa, Bengal and Assam from unknown past. The most established theory is that the Kaibartas are Dravidians or they belong to Dravidian stalk...

, Meitei
Meitei people
The Meeteis or Meiteis are the majority ethnic group of Manipur, India, and because of this are sometimes referred to as Manipuris. Generally speaking, Meitei is an endonym and Manipuri is an exonym...

, Mundas, Oraons, and Zomi
Zomi
Zomi is the name of a major tribe found in various parts of South and South East Asia. The term Zomi meaning, 'Zo People' is derived from the generic name 'Zo', the progenitor of the Zomi. They are found in northwestern Myanmar, northeastern India and Bangladesh. Anthropologists classify them as...

.

Nearly all Bangladeshis speak Bangla
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 as their mother tongue and it is the official language. It is an Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 origin with its own script
Bengali script
The Bengali alphabet is the writing system for the Bengali language. The script with variations is used for Assamese and is basis for Meitei, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Kokborok, Garo and Mundari alphabets. All these languages are spoken in the eastern region of South Asia. Historically, the script has...

. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is used as a second language among the middle and upper classes. English is also widely used in higher education and the legal system. Historically, laws were written in English and were not translated into Bengali until 1987 when the procedure was reversed. The Bihari
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

 population speaks Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, which was also the language associated with the government prior to separation from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

.

Health and education


Health and education levels remain relatively low, although they have improved recently as poverty (31% at 2010) levels have decreased. Most Bangladeshis continue to live on subsistence farming in rural villages. Health problems abound, springing from poor water quality and prevalence of infectious diseases. The water crisis is acute, with widespread bacterial contamination of surface water
Surface water
Surface water is water collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean; it is related to water collecting as groundwater or atmospheric water....

 and arsenic contamination of groundwater
Arsenic contamination of groundwater
Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a natural occurring high concentration of arsenic in deeper levels of groundwater, which became a high-profile problem in recent years due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply in the Ganges Delta, causing serious arsenic poisoning to large numbers of...

. Common diseases include malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, leptospirosis
Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is caused by infection with bacteria of the genus Leptospira, and affects humans as well as other mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.The...

 and dengue
Dengue fever
Dengue fever , also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles...

. The literacy rate in Bangladesh rose to 56.5% in 2009. There is some gender disparity, though, as literacy rates are 62% among men and 51% among women, according to a 2008 UNICEF estimate. Among the most successful literacy programs are the Food for education (FFE) introduced in 1993, and a stipend program for women at the primary and secondary levels.

In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Population Fund
The United Nations Population Fund is a UN organization. The work of the UNFPA involves promotion of the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. This is done through major national and demographic surveys and with population censuses...

 released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Bangladesh is 340. This is compared with 338.3 in 2008 and 724.4 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 55 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 57. The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

 can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal health. In Bangladesh the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 8 and 1 in 110 shows us the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women.

Religion


The main religion practiced in Bangladesh is Islam
Islam in Bangladesh
Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh, the Muslim population is approximately 148.6 million, which is the third largest Muslim population in the world, constituting 90.4% of the total population as of 2010. Religion has always been a strong part of identity, but this has varied at different...

 (89.6%), but a significant percentage of the population adheres to Hinduism
Hinduism in Bangladesh
Hinduism is the second largest religious affiliation in Bangladesh, covering more than 9.2% of the population, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics...

 (9.3%). The majority of Muslims are Sunni. Many people in Bangladesh practice Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

, historically Islam was brought to the region by Sufi saints. There are also followers of the Deobandi
Deobandi
Deobandi is a movement of Sunni Islam. The movement began at Darul Uloom Deoband in Deoband, India, where its foundation was laid on 30 May 1866.-History:...

 movement, Jamaat-e-Islami
Jamaat-e-Islami
This article is about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. For other organizations of similar name see Jamaat-e-Islami The Jamaat-e-Islami , is a Pro-Muslim political party in Pakistan...

, and Ahle Hadith. The largest gathering of Muslims in the country is the Bishwa Ijtema
Bishwa Ijtema
The Bishwa Ijtema , or is an annual Tablighi Jamaat Islamic movement congregation held at Tongi, Bangladesh by the river Turag. The event focuses on prayers and meditation and does not allow political discussion...

, held annually by the Tablighi Jamaat
Tablighi Jamaat
Tablighi Jamaat is a religious movement which was founded in 1926 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in India. The movement primarily aims at Tablighi spiritual reformation by working at the grass roots level, reaching out to Muslims across all social and economic spectra to bring them closer to...

. Ethnic Biharis
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

 are predominantly Shia
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 Muslims. There are also a small number of Muslims, numbering some 100,000 belonging to the Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 community. Sufi influences in the region go back many centuries. Other religious groups include Buddhists
Buddhism in Bangladesh
Buddhism is the third largest religion in Bangladesh with about 0.7% of population adhering to Theravada Buddhism. Most of the practiconers are the tribal Jumma people who are found mainly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, where they constitute about 45% of the area's population.- Demographic Overview...

 (0.7%, mostly Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

), Christians
Christianity in Bangladesh
Christianity arrived in what is now Bangladesh during the late sixteenth to early seventeenth century AD, through the Portuguese traders and missionaries. Christians account for approximately 0.3% of the total population. Christianity's first contact with the Indian subcontinent is attributed to...

 (0.3%, mostly of the Roman Catholic denomination), and Animists
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 (0.1%). Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population after Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, with over 170 million. Bangladesh was founded as a secular state, but Islam was briefly made the state religion. But in 2010, the High Court held up the secular principles of the 1972 constitution. The High Court also strengthened its stance against punishments by Islamic edict (fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

), following complaints of brutal sentences carried out against women by extra-legal village courts.

Culture


Reflecting the long history of the region, Bangladesh has a culture that encompasses elements both old and new. The Bengali language
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 boasts a rich literary heritage, which Bangladesh shares with the Indian state of West Bengal. The earliest literary text in Bengali is the 8th century Charyapada
Charyapada
The Charyapada is a collection of 8th-12th century Vajrayana Buddhist caryagiti, or mystical poems from the tantric tradition in eastern India. Being caryagiti , the Charyapada were intended to be sung. These songs of realization were spontaneously composed verses that expressed a practitioner's...

. Medieval Bengali literature was often either religious (for example, Chandidas
Chandidas
Chandidas refers to medieval poet of Bengal. Over 1250 poems related to the love of Radha and Krishna in Bengali with the bhanita of Chandidas are found with three different sobriquets along with his name, , Dvija and Dina as well as without any sobriquet also...

), or adapted from other languages (for example, Alaol
Alaol
Alaol was a medieval poet in Bengal. He is thought to be born around 1607 in Faridpur in the present-day Bangladesh. His most well known work is Padmavati, which depicts the story of Padmavati, the Sinhala princess and the queen of Chittor. There is an important literary prize named after him in...

). Bengali literature reached its full expression in the 19th century, with its greatest icons being poets Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

, Michael Madhusudan Dutt
Michael Madhusudan Dutt
Michael Madhusudan Dutt or Michael Madhusudan Dutta was a popular 19th century Bengali poet and dramatist. He was born in Sagardari , on the bank of Kopotaksho [কপোতাক্ষ] River, a village in Keshobpur Upozila, Jessore District, East Bengal . His father was Rajnarayan Dutt, an eminent lawyer, and...

 and Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam , sobriquet Bidrohi Kobi, was a Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary who pioneered poetic works espousing intense spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. His poetry and nationalist activism earned him the popular title of Bidrohi Kobi...

. Bangladesh also has a long tradition in folk literature, for example Maimansingha Gitika
Maimansingha Gitika
Maimansingha gitika or Môemonshingha gitika is a collection of folk ballads from the region of Mymensingh, Bangladesh. They were published in English as Eastern Bengal Ballads...

, Thakurmar Jhuli
Thakurmar Jhuli
Thakurmar Jhuli is a collection of Bengali folk tales and fairy tales. Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder was the person who first collected some folk-stories of Bengal and published it under the name of Thakurmar Jhuli in 1907 . The Nobel-Laureate, Rabindra Nath Thakur wrote the introduction to the...

and stories related to Gopal Bhar
Gopal Bhar
Gopal Bhar or Gopal Bhand was a legendary court jester in medieval Bengal. He was in the court of Raja Krishnachandra, the famous king of Nadia in the 18th century AD. Such was the genius of Gopal that the king considered him as a Navaratna of his court...

, Birbal and Molla Nasiruddin.

The musical tradition of Bangladesh is lyrics-based (Baniprodhan), with minimal instrumental accompaniment. The Baul
Baul
Baul .Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.-Etymology:The origin of the word...

 tradition is a distinctive element of Bengali folk music. Numerous other musical traditions exist including Gombhira
Gombhira
Gambhira is a type of song . It is performed with a particularly distinctive rhythm and dance with two performers, always personifying a man and his maternal grandfather, discussing a topic to raise social awareness...

, Bhatiali
Bhatiali
Bhatiali or Bhatiyali is a traditional form of folk music in Bengal, Bangladesh and West Bengal. Bhatiyali is a traditional boat song, sung by boatmen while going down streams of the river, as the word Bhatiyali comes from Bhata meaning ebb or downstream It mostly is sung in the Mymensingh District...

 and Bhawaiya
Bhawaiya
Bhawaiya is a musical form popular in Northern Bangladesh, especially Rangpur District and in North Bengal specially in Cooch Behar district and Jalpaiguri District. This type of song is sung by the coachman. They sing this song while driving their cow drawn cart...

, varying from one region to the next. Folk music is often accompanied by the ektara
Ektara
Ektara is a one-string instrument used in Bangladesh, India, Egypt, and Pakistan.thumb||EktaraIn origin the ektara was a regular string instrument of wandering bards and minstrels from India and is plucked with one finger...

, an instrument with only one string. Other instruments include the dotara
Dotara
The dotara is a two or four or some times five stringed musical instrument resembling more to mandolin than a guitar...

, dhol
Dhol
Dhol can refer to any one of a number of similar types of double-headed drum widely used, with regional variations, throughout the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions. Its range of distribution in India and Pakistan primarily includes northern areas such as the Assam Valley, Bengal, Gujarat,...

, flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 and tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

. Bangladesh also has an active heritage in North Indian classical music
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

. Similarly, Bangladeshi dance forms draw from folk traditions, especially those of the tribal groups, as well as the broader Indian dance tradition.

Bangladesh produces about 80 films a year. Mainstream Hindi films
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 are also quite popular. Around 200 daily newspapers are published in Bangladesh, along with more than 500 periodicals. However, regular readership is low at just under 15% of the population. Bangladeshis listen to a variety of local and national radio programs like Bangladesh Betar
Bangladesh Betar
Bangladesh Betar is the state-owned radio broadcasting organisation of Bangladesh. It was also known as Radio Bangladesh between 1975 and 1996.-History:...

. Four private FM radio stations named (Radio Foorti
Radio Foorti
Radio Foorti is a Bangladeshi FM radio station. The station went live on September 21, 2006 and is currently available in DhakaChittagongSylhetRajshahiKhulnaBarisalMymensinghCox's Bazar-Info:...

, ABC Radio, Radio Today
Radio Today
Radio Today is a radio station in Bangladesh. It started airing in May 2006. It is currently available in Dhaka and Chittagong.-Info:It started as the country's first private FM radio station in May 2006 in Dhaka at 89.6 MHz. It later became available in Chittagong & Cox's Bazaar. Soon its going to...

, Radio Amar
Radio Amar
Radio Aamar is a 24-hours private FM radio station in Bangladesh. It broadcasts on 88.4FM in Dhaka. It started its official transmission in 11 December 2007...

) are popular among urban youths. International Bengali language broadcasts include BBC Bangla
BBC Bangla
-History:BBC Bangla was launched on October 11, 1941 with a 15-minute programme under BBC World Service. It attained a vast popularity among the Bengali community in Bangladesh and India especially in Bangladesh for trustworthy news broadcast...

 and Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

. The dominant television channel is the state-owned Bangladesh Television
Bangladesh Television
Bangladesh Television , also known by the acronym BTV, is the state-owned Television network in Bangladesh. It started broadcasting as Pakistan Television in what was then East Pakistan on 25 December 1964. It was renamed Bangladesh Television after the independence in 1971. Broadcasts in full...

, but in the last few years, privately owned channels have developed considerably.

The culinary tradition of Bangladesh has close relations to nearby North-East Indian
North East Indian cuisine
North East Indian cuisine includes :* Assamese cuisine* Manipuri cuisine* Tripuri cuisine* Bodo cuisine* Naga cuisine* Mizo cuisine* Garo cuisine* Khasi cuisine...

 and Middle Eastern cuisine
Middle Eastern cuisine
Middle-Eastern cuisine, West Asian cuisine, or in some place in the United States, Persian-Mediterranean cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East . The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity...

 as well as having its own unique traits. Rice, and fish are traditional favorites. Bangladeshis make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products, some common ones being Rôshogolla, Rasmalai, Rôshomalai, chômchôm and kalojam.

The sari
Sari
A sari or sareeThe name of the garment in various regional languages include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,...

 (shaŗi) is by far the most widely worn dress by Bangladeshi women. A guild of weavers in Dhaka is renowned for producing saris from exquisite Jamdani
Jamdani
Jamdani is a hand loom woven fabric made of cotton, which historically was referred to as muslin. The Jamdani weaving tradition is of Bengali origin. It is one of the most time and labor intensive forms of weaving hand loom weaving. In the first half of the nineteenth century, James Taylor...

 muslin
Muslin
Muslin |sewing patterns]], such as for clothing, curtains, or upholstery. Because air moves easily through muslin, muslin clothing is suitable for hot, dry climates.- Etymology and history :...

. The salwar kameez (shaloar kamiz) is also quite popular, and in urban areas some women wear western attire. Among men, western attire is more widely adopted. Men also wear the kurta
Kurta
A kurta is a traditional item of clothing worn in Afghanistan, Pakistan , Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is a loose shirt falling either just above or somewhere below the knees of the wearer, and is worn by both men and women...

-paejama
combination, often on religious occasions, and the lungi
Lungi
The Lungi , also known as a sarong , is a traditional garment worn around the waist in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula...

, a kind of long skirt for men.

Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 and Eid ul-Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

, being the most important holidays in the Islamic calendar, are the subject of major festivals. The day before Eid ul-Fitr is called Chãd Rat (the night of the moon) and is often celebrated with firecrackers. Eid ul-Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

 is celebrated in the memory of great sacrifice of Prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. Major Hindu festivals are Durga Puja
Durga Puja
Durga puja ; দুর্গা পূজা,ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା,‘Worship of Durga’), also referred to as Durgotsava ; , is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and...

, Kali Puja
Kali Puja
Kali Puja or Shyama Puja is a festival dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month Ashwin in Bengal. It coincides with the pan-Indian Lakshmi Puja day of Diwali...

 and Saraswati Puja. Buddha Purnima
Vesak
Vesākha is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia...

, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, and Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, called Bôŗodin (Great day), are both national holidays
Public holidays in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has ten national holidays, based on three separate calendars: Gregorian , Islamic , and Bengali calendars....

. The most important secular festival is Pohela Baishakh
Pohela Baishakh
Bengali New Year or Poyela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar, celebrated in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, and in Bengali communities in Assam and Tripura...

 or Bengali New Year, the beginning of the Bengali calendar. Other festivities include Nobanno
Nobanno
Nobanno is the festival of harvest in Bengal. The word translates as "New Rice". The festival takes place in the month of Agrohayon or Aghran of the Bangla Calendar. Festivities include making traditional cakes named "pitha"....

, Poush parbon (festival of Poush
Poush
Poush is the 9th month of both the Bangla calendar and the Nepali Calendar. It overlaps December and January of the Gregorian calendar. It is the first month of the winter season....

) and observance of national days like Shohid Dibosh
Language Movement Day
Language Movement Day or Language Revolution Day , which is also referred to as Language Martyrs' Day or Martyrs' Day , is a national day of Bangladesh to commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla as a national language during Bengali Language Movement of 1952.-Background:In 1952,...

 and Victory Day
Victory Day (Bangladesh)
Victory Day is a national holiday in Bangladesh celebrated on December 16.On this day in 1971, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Indo-Bangladeshi High Command in Dhaka, ending the 9 month-long Bangladesh Liberation War and 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. General AAK Niazi, the Commanding officer...

.

Education



The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government also funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.

Primary (from grades 1 to 5), Secondary (from grades 6 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary. The five years of lower secondary education concludes with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Examination. Education is mainly offered in Bangla, but English is also commonly taught and used. A large number of Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education, which is imparted in Bangla and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 in madrasahs.

Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All
Education For All
Education For All is a global movement led by UNESCO, aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. UNESCO has been mandated to lead the movement and coordinate the international efforts to reach Education for All...

 (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

 (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.

Universities in Bangladesh
Universities in Bangladesh
Universities in Bangladesh represent about 75 academic bodies out of a total of about 105 institutions represent the conventional higher education institution in Bangladesh. Segmented by management and financial structure, these include 34 public universities, 56 private universities, 2...

 are mainly categorized into three different types: Public university (government owned and subsidized), Private University (private sector owned universities), and International University (operated and funded by international organizations )

Bangladesh has some thirty public and forty-five private universities. National University
Bangladesh National University
Bangladesh National University is a parent university of Bangladesh which was primarily established to affiliate all the universities and colleges. It is situated in Gazipur, on the outskirts of Dhaka.-Organization:...

 has the largest enrolment amongst them and University of Dhaka
University of Dhaka
The University of Dhaka is the oldest university in Bangladesh. It is a multi-disciplinary research university and is among the top universities in the region. Established on July 21, 1921, as per the Government of India Act, 1920, it was modelled on the Universities in England and soon gained...

 (estd.1921) is the oldest university of the country. Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or BUET as it is commonly known, is a Public Engineering University in Bangladesh. It is the oldest Engineering institution in the region, and is regarded as the best university for technological education in Bangladesh...

 is oldest and prominent engineering university in Bangladesh and well known in south Asia. Bangladeshi universities are accredited by and affiliated with the University Grants Commission
University Grants Commission (Bangladesh)
The University Grants Commission of Bangladesh was established on 16 December 1972. It was created according to the Presidential Order of the Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh.-Purpose:...

 (UGC), a commission created according to the Presidential Order (P.O. No 10 of 1973) of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Sports


Cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 enjoys a passionate following in Bangladesh and it is the most popular sport followed by football (soccer). The national cricket team participated in their first World Cup
Cricket World Cup
The ICC Cricket World Cup is the premier international championship of men's One Day International cricket. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council , with preliminary qualification rounds leading up to a finals tournament which is held every four years...

 in 1999, and the following year was granted elite Test cricket
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 status. But they have struggled to date, recording only three Test match
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 victories, one against Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 in 2005 and the other two in a series win of 2–0 against the West Indies in 2009. In July 2010, they celebrated their first ever win over England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in any form of match. Later in 2010,they managed to whitewash New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 for the first time in history. In 2011, Bangladesh successfully co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

.

They participated at the Asian Games 2010 in Guangzhou, defeating Afghanistan to claim their Gold Medal in the first ever cricket tournament held in the Asian Games. Hadudu (Kabaddi)
Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a South Asian team sport...

 is the national sport of Bangladesh. Other popular sports include field hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, badminton
Badminton
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players or two opposing pairs , who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their...

, handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

, basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, shooting
Shooting sports
A shooting sport is a competitive sport involving tests of proficiency using various types of guns such as firearms and airguns . Hunting is also a shooting sport, and indeed shooting live pigeons was an Olympic event...

, angling
Angling
Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" . The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself...

 and carrom
Carrom
Carrom is a family of tabletop games with gameplay that lies somewhere between billiards and table shuffleboard. Carrom is known by many names around the world, including carrum, couronne, carum, karam, karom, karum, fatta and finger billiards...

. The Bangladesh Sports Control Board
Bangladesh Sports Control Board
The Bangladesh Sports Control Board is the national overseer of the control authorities of 29 different sports in Bangladesh. It is responsible to the Ministry of Sports in the national government, based in Dhaka....

 regulates 29 different sporting federations.

See also


  • Commonwealth of Nations
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...



External links